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AirLIFE 's Aircraft

San Antonio AirLIFE currently operates three Bell 430 helicopters and two Bell 407 helicopters as their primary aircraft.

The Bell 430

Along with the sleek design comes a myriad of technological upgrades, which makes the aircraft more economical to operate, and adds additional layers of safety for our mission.

Key features include:

  • Full Authority Digital Electronics Control (FADEC) - It is a system consisting of a digital computer and its related accessories which control all aspects of aircraft engine performance. This system actually controls the power plant, providing it with the correct fuel, air and ignition ratios required for optimum performance with minimum fuel expenditure.
  • Sky Connect - Satellite-based voice, tracking and data systems for aircraft. The world's first seamless global flight tracking system, providing 100 percent real-time tracking of our aircraft positions.
  • XM Weather Satellite information - Constantly updated, high-resolution weather information, right in the cockpit—an invaluable asset whenever approaching storms marks the flight path.
  • Active Traffic Advisory System (aircraft collision avoidance) - Gives the precise location of nearby aircraft, providing real-time traffic information with no delay. Having an active traffic system is vital to providing a full measure of safety, in busy terminal areas as well as in non-radar airspace. 
  • Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (terrain collision avoidance) - Uses aircraft inputs such as position, attitude, air speed and glideslope, which along with internal terrain, obstacles, and airport databases predict a potential conflict between the aircraft's flight path and terrain or an obstacle.
  • Moving Map Display - Designed to give the pilot a level of situational awareness that cannot be achieved with standard cockpit instruments. Traditional instruments with pointers and dials define your location with respect to navigational aids, while a moving map shows you, explicitly, exactly where you are and what's ahead.

A maximum cruise speed of 139 knots, this aircraft is 20% faster than our previous aircraft, which cuts down our enroute time to common destinations such as Del Rio and Laredo from 60 minutes to 50 minutes. This means that the patient will arrive to the tertiary care facilities faster, and the crews will expeditiously return to service, increasing our availability.

We will still maintain our single pilot Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) capability, which is the ability to fly an aircraft in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), weather conditions that do not meet the minimum visibility requirements for Visual Flight Rules (VFR). In such conditions the pilot will control the altitude of the aircraft by watching the flight instruments, and will rely entirely on Air Traffic Control for separation from other traffic. San Antonio AirLIFE is the only service in the region with this capability.


Air Methods Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems

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